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A view of Heart Mountain from the former camp site.

Photo Essay: 2022 Heart Mountain Pilgrimage

Several Densho staff members were honored to be among the attendees of the 2022 Heart Mountain Pilgrimage this past weekend. This was Heart Mountain’s first major on-site pilgrimage since the…

The interior of preserved barracks at present day Heart Mountain

“Show Me The Way To Go to Home”: Photo Essay by Sandy Sugawara

Three years ago, Sansei journalist and photographer Sandy Sugawara set out to visit each of the War Relocation Authority camps where Japanese Americans, including her parents and grandparents, were incarcerated…

A Japanese Peruvian family on a plantation.

Photo Essay: Japanese Peruvian Lives Before World War II

During World War II, the United States colluded with several Central and South American nations to imprison some 2,200 Japanese Latin Americans on US soil. The majority—nearly 1,800—were abducted from…

Archives Spotlight: The Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple Collections

In honor of American Archives Month, we feature a guest post from Densho Digitization Tech, Christen Greenhill Robichaud. In this essay, Robichaud details her team’s work on an exciting new…

People gathered around the Manzanar cemetery monument, with barbed wire in the foreground and mountains and dramatic clouds in the distant background.

Photo Essay: The First Manzanar Pilgrimage

On December 27, 1969, an intergenerational group of Issei, Nisei, Sansei, and a few Yonsei made the 220-mile trek from Los Angeles to Manzanar. It was the first organized pilgrimage…

Photo Essay: Yoshio Okumoto’s Views of Life in Heart Mountain

Many of the “iconic” photos of Japanese American incarceration that we are most familiar with today were taken by white photographers who worked as outsiders looking in. But, as the…

Photo Essay: Japanese American Military Service during WWII

Despite facing extreme race-based scrutiny and suspicion, Japanese Americans served in the U.S. military during WWII in disproportionate numbers—even as many of their families were stuck in government-run concentration camps….

Photo Essay: Japanese American History Through the Eyes of Everyday Families

Personal collections are a critical component of Densho’s archives. These collections, donated by families and individuals, provide amazing insights into Japanese American history that might otherwise be forgotten, while allowing…

Photo Essay: The Amache Silk Screen Shop

The Amache concentration camp in southeastern Colorado was, in many ways, similar to other War Relocation Authority camps where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II: rural and rugged,…

Photo Essay: Day of Remembrance, Day of Action

Despite torrential rains in Tacoma this weekend, Tsuru for Solidarity supporters showed up in droves to raise their voices in opposition to immigrant detention. They gathered outside the Northwest Detention…

Photo Essay: Japanese Americans Return to the West Coast After WWII Incarceration

The exclusion of Japanese Americans from the West Coast during WWII came to an official end on January 2, 1945. By the end of the year, nine of the ten…

Photo Essay: Minidoka National Historic Site Unveils New Visitor Center

Earlier this month, about 325 people gathered in southeast Idaho for the 17th annual Minidoka Pilgrimage. Over the course of four days, pilgrims learned about the history and legacy of…

Photo Essay: Early Nikkei Excursions to Mt. Rainier

On a clear day, the 14,411-foot peak of Mt. Rainier looms large on Seattle’s southern horizon. The glacial mountain has played a major role in the lives of people living…

Photo Essay: Hikaru Iwasaki’s Sunny Views of Resettlement Americana

While the photographs of Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange have helped shape visual understandings of World War II incarceration, there are many lesser known photographers who documented the Japanese American…

Tule Lake Pilgrimage, 1974

In this American Archives Month guest post, Densho Digital Archivist Caitlin Oiye Coon looks at a recently published collection of photos by Gerald Kajitani. The photos document the second pilgrimage…

Photo Essay: Fairground Detention Facilities

Fairgrounds in Fresno, Merced, Pomona, Puyallup, Salinas, Stockton, Tulare, and Turlock have a dark common history. Seventy five years ago, they served as sites for the temporary detention of Japanese…

25 Times Gidra Was Goddamn Glorious

From 1969 to 1974, Gidra, the unofficial voice of “the Movement,” chronicled changing tides and unfolding dramas within the Asian American community. Taking its name from a giant three-headed dragon…

Photo Essay: Japanese American Mothers During WWII

Mothers’ Day is around the corner—which means most of us are busy getting ready to show some love and affection to the women who raised us. (Y’all should really be…

Sold, Damaged, Stolen, Gone: Japanese American Property Loss During WWII

Imagine being told you had a week to pack up all your belongings. You can bring all the bedding, clothing, and toiletries you can carry, but you better find a…

Photo Essay: Exclusion Order No. 1, Bainbridge Island

March 30, 2017 marks the 75th anniversary of the removal of Japanese Americans from Bainbridge Island, Washington. The community of almost 300 was the second in the country targeted for…

Nisei Veterans of World War II: Photo Essay and Resource List

“No loyal citizen of the United States should be denied the democratic right to exercise the responsibilities of his citizenship, regardless of his ancestry….Americanism is not, and never was, a…

What “Back to School” Looked Like in World War II Concentration Camps

“Nineteen forty-two, how full of events it has been. So many turning points, crisises [sic], days of anxiety and disappointment, yet some happy moments, too. It was like a goodbye to…

Views of Post-WWII Hiroshima: A Japanese American Woman Documents Life in Occupied Japan

Shiuko Sakai was twenty three years old when she decided to join a friend to work for the Department of the Army in Occupied Japan. At the time of this…

Photo Essay: Bon Festivals

This weekend, cities along the west coast will hold their annual Bon festivals. Bon Odori communal folk dances are a central part of the bon festival, a Buddhist summer ceremony in which the spirits of…